As reported by the News Media Association, in her address the Queen said: “I have also had the opportunity to visit a significant number of newsrooms and have seen how tough your work is. Particularly, if I dare say so, for women, who, despite the many hurdles they have faced, have been among the bravest reporters of all. From trailblazers like Martha Gelhorn and Christiane Amanpour, to those such as Marie Colvin (an FPA Journalist of the Year) and Daphne Caruana Galizia, who have so tragically paid with their lives, their courage was matched only by their conviction that the truth matters.
“Perhaps this has never been more evident than in our digital age, where disinformation runs rife and where female journalists are increasingly targeted on social media.”
The Queen also praised the work of journalists in highlighting domestic and sexual abuse: “As the late great Dame Ann Leslie wrote, it is among the sacred duties of journalists to ‘face the glacier in the cupboard and to expose its coldness and cruelty to the bright, clear and humanising light of day.’ That is what she, and all of you, do. This is especially true in one area of your work for which I should particularly like to thank you: raising awareness of domestic and sexual abuse against women in every part of the globe.”
The Queen also commended journalist’s efforts in uncovering corruption and wrongdoing: “You have the ability to break the corrosive silence that frequently surrounds abuse. You bring into the open the voices of victims, you break taboos, you shine a light on these heinous crimes, and you guide the public on what they can do to help.
“As the foreign correspondent Christina Lamb makes clear in her devastating book ‘Our Bodies, Their Battlefield’, rape and sexual abuse continue to be a pervasive and all-too-often hidden feature of conflict zones the world over.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as my husband observed 15 years ago, yours is an awe-inspiring responsibility: you question, debate and analyse and thus protect what is so easy for us to take for granted – true freedom of expression. As I said at the London Press Club Awards in 2011, I believe freedom of expression to be at the heart of our democratic system. In this, you play a vital, if not pivotal role.
“Take courage from the words of one of our greatest writers, and former journalist, Tom Stoppard: “I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon”. May you continue to use it wisely. Thank you.”
The full speech can be found here.Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.